The Law Society has agreed to contribute £80,000 towards the establishment of a chain of solicitors' property centres.
The news was greeted with delight by Solicitors Property Group general secretary Leslie Dubow. “We think it's not before time, and we are looking forward to seeing some progress now,” he said.
The Law Society Policy Committee agreed last week to set aside the money, appointing councillors Anthony Bogan, Richard Hegarty, Michael Mathews and Phillip Sycamore to decide how the money can be best spent.
Bogan said one option would be to pay Scottish solicitors, who have been successful in establishing property centres across Scotland, to advise on setting up the English and Welsh version, together with the assistance of English property selling solicitors. This would mean much of the £80,000 could go to the profession.
He added that the appointment of presidential contenders Sycamore and Mathews was a signal that the Law Society was fully committed to the property centre idea.
Property and Commercial Services Committee chairman Richard Hegarty said the legal profession only had one chance to get it right when it came to establishing a solicitors' property centre.
“We've got to do it properly, its got to be capitalised correctly,” he said.
On Wednesday, Bogan will convene the founding meeting of the Solicitors Property Network at which a board of solicitor directors will be appointed.
The limited company will be used to establish a network of property centres with the backing of the Law Society and the SPG.
The SPG is holding a watershed conference on 3 June at the Royal National Hotel in London to promote its plans, with another scheduled for Manchester on 8 July.
This month, the SPG will hold separate meetings with both Conquest Legal Marketing and First American Insurance Company to discuss options for establishing solicitors' property centres.
Although the SPG has criticised both Conquest and First American, because it is opposed to the involvement of non-solicitor shareholders, it has agreed to have exploratory talks to discuss common ground.